The National Pork Board today debuted a new infographic depicting how U.S. pig farmers work with their veterinarians to use antibiotics responsibly to help keep people, pigs and the planet healthy.
“As pig farmers, we work closely with veterinarians to make sure we’re using antibiotics only when necessary for the health and well-being of our animals,” says Derrick Sleezer, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. “We’re also committed to protecting human health, and we understand the importance of using tools such as antibiotics responsibly to ensure food safety.”
The NPB continues to update and expand programs, such as Pork Quality Assurance Plus, that certify that farmers know the latest information about how to practice responsible antibiotic use at the farm level. However, pig farmers are increasingly communicating with the public about this issue with the goal of demystifying antibiotic use.
“We realize that today’s consumers want to know how their food is produced and that it’s safe for their families,” Sleezer says. “This is why we’re reaching out and telling people how we keep animals healthy to produce safe food. This infographic is one way we will achieve that goal.”
The NPB has made a concerted effort in 2015 to address antibiotic-related issues. The board’s three-point plan of action focuses on research, education and communication. The plan will help shape educational outreach to pig farmers, share information with the retail and foodservice industries and inform pork consumers.
Other antibiotic initiatives coming from the NPB include a new independent blue-ribbon panel to discuss the issue and to help prioritize research and producer education programs. The panel also will identify opportunities for improvement in current antibiotic practices and offer guidance in how to improve antibiotic stewardship in the pork industry.
“The role antibiotics play in pig farming is often misunderstood,” says Chris Hodges, NPB chief executive officer. “That’s why we work closely with various groups in the food chain and why we’re reaching out to consumers with information about how antibiotics are used on the farm. It’s all part of our responsibility to build consumer trust in pork production.”